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October 27, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(9):854-857. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970260004002

• Epidemiological studies show that prevention, not primarily treatment, appears to be the logical long-term solution to the mental illnesses. Past investigations reveal this particular group of diseases may fall into three etiological classifications: organic brain damage, individual stress, and what might be called group stress resulting from cultural patterns.

The prevention of somatic pathology is fairly well understood, especially where there is a single causative factor. The detrimental effects of individual stress might be obviated through much of our present-day knowledge of personality formation. It is in the area where social customs seem to be the dominating determinant of psychiatric illness, however, that new research is needed.